There is something about the stars that set the Gypsy blood astir…

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I am inspired by William Bliss Carman’s thought about things that stir the Gypsy blood for the title of this piece. The stars do stir my blood and I wish I could travel up there. Perhaps someday we will.

This tree was absolutely gorgeous, and in a perfect location for shooting a star trail at the end of a day of shooting wildflowers, creeks, and a waterfall in Northeastern California. I’d gone up with some friends to meet more photography friends in a Meet-up group we’re in. While we set up for the shot and finished up we listened to little frogs croaking, and following them were crickets. A lovely round of natures music that I’m sure continued long into the night.

My battery died short of where I wanted it to for this sequence of star trails. A lesson learned! I will insert a fresh battery from now on.

Nikon D700 Nikkor 18mm AI-S| f5.6| 211 seconds| ISO 200| Manual Priority| Tripod| 29 frames stacked with Photoshop CS5

A Nocturnal Adventure

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I finally got this shot! I’ve wanted to take a photograph from here for over a year. Last year my friend Dali and I did some recon trips to get the logistics worked out.  It’s a tricky place to get to, and a rare view I believe. We’ve kept this shoot on our “short shot list” but haven’t been able to fit it into our schedules until now. It was well worth the effort, risks, and steep climb to get it. The weather this evening was perfect. It was warm, with a slight breeze, and the fog was thin and stayed outside the Bay while we were here. I don’t know if I’ll ever get back here to photograph this view again or not, but I do hope so.

San Francisco, California, Bay Bridge, Pacific Ocean

Nikon D700| Nikkor 18mm Ai-S| f11| 30 seconds| ISO 200| Manual Priority| Tripod

Planetary Conjunction

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Thanks Dali and Andy for reminding me about this astronomical event. Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon lined up in a triangle to form a special conjunction on Feb. 25, 2012. We spent a lot of time online emailing each other about places we liked to shoot this. I kept looking at this area of the city and I asked the guys to look at it too.  After the guys looked at it on TPE (The Photographer’s Ephemeris) they too liked it and we decided to shoot it here.  Andy didn’t join us he decided to make some progress on his computer project so it was Dali, Phil, and I who shot here. It was fun, but cold!

The forecast called for a clear sky, but what we had were  intermittent clouds, and a low fog bank. As soon as Venus dropped into the fog we called it a night. The Crescent Moon is in those clouds, but Jupiter and Venus are clearly visible.

To see what Dali shot go here

To see Phil’s photo go here

Nikon D700| Nikkor 18mm| f5.6| 15 seconds| ISO 800| Manual Mode| Tripod| Self Timer

First Photo of the New Year

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I spent the first few days of 2012 photographing parts of the Eastern Sierras with dear friends. This was our 2nd Annual New Years Photo Trip.
There wasn’t much snow in the high country so we were able to cross Tioga Pass to get to our base camp which was in Bishop, CA. From there we were pretty central to everything we had hoped to photograph. We roamed from Mammoth on the northern end to Alabama Hills in the south.
Sunrises, sunsets, and a bit of scouting during the day was on the agenda, and on our first night we had a clear sky so we drove south to Ancient Bristle Pine Cone National Park and shot in the Patriarch Grove.  The elevation is between 10,000 and 11,000ft.  Because the air is so thin up here these trees grow slowly.  This  harsh environment makes their wood denser and stronger to resist pests, and disease. The oldest tree is 4600 years old! Their twisted limbs and odd shapes make great subjects and foreground for star trails.

Once you get the focus sharp, your settings selected, and your intervelometer set up you can sit back and watch the sky, or  do what we did; go back to the car and turn on the heater. It was 26 degrees outside!

This star trail is made from 82 frames each were 58 second exposures. I cloned out 6 airplanes and 1 shooting star.
The trip was great fun, and I’m looking forward to our 2013 New Years Photo adventure.

All Decked Out for Christmas

Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac.  All Rights Reserved.

Here’s another house I saw while taking Diva Dog for her evening walk .  Have you been out to see the Christmas displays?

Nikon D700| Nikkor 17-35@ 20mm| f16| 20 seconds| ISO 200| Manual Mode| Tripod

“Christmastime is here, happiness and cheer, fun for all that children call, their favorite time of the year.” ~Charlie Brown’s Christmas

Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac.  All Rights Reserved.

I’ve taken my camera and tripod with me while taking Diva Dog  for her evening walk to take photos of the most elaborate houses I come across. These two houses have been the most well thought out and presented so far.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 17-35@ 20mm| f16| 10 seconds| ISO 200| Manual Mode| Tripod| Self-Timer